This catalogue represents a museum collection of original graphics, which is part of the general collection of graphic works of The V. V. Vereshchagin Mykolaiv Art Museum and contains more than eight thousand storage units.
Publication of the catalog and digitization of exhibits became possible and was carried out thanks to the state program of support of cultural institutions introduced by the Ukrainian cultural fund, and municipal institution Mykolaiv development agency. As part of the “Digital Collection of the Art Museum” project, the museum provided 500 items from the museum collection for digitization. Half of these 500 exhibits were selected for the printed catalog, a total amount of 250 units.
The collection of original graphics of The V. V. Vereshchagin Mykolaiv Art Museum tallies roughly a thousand works. It consists of a few works of the late ХVIII century, works of XIX, and the first half of the XX century, works of the second half of the XX century – early XXI century.
The project “Digital Collection of the Art Museum” provided a limited chronological framework of exhibits used for digitization – they were works of the late XVIII – first half of the XX century.
The catalogue consists of two sections. The first section includes graphic works of the late XVIII and XIX centuries, as well as works created before 1917.
The second part of the issue introduces graphic artists and their works dated from 1918 to 1950.
The collection of graphics of The V. V. Vereshchagin Mykolaiv Art Museum has its own distinct features, the history of formation and the uniqueness connected with the history of the origin and formation of the art museum in Mykolaiv.
Already in 1914, the museum received the first graphic works. Among them, there are V. V. Vereshchagin’s early drawings that were made during his travels to the Caucasus and Central Asia. Vasily Vereshchagin’s academic drawings were donated to the Museum by Prince Mykola Gedroyts, who was also the founder of the Museum.
In the subsequent history of the museum, watercolors and drawings continued to replenish the collection. They were donated by concerned citizens, artists’ relatives. Among such incomings are graphic works by marine artist Rufin Sudkovsky.
A difficult period in the fate of the museum took place during the Second World War (1939-1945). The collection was almost completely lost. A little remained, but Vereshchagin’s works were lucky. Thanks to being in the evacuation, they survived. Some of Vereshchagin’s drawings were fortunately returned to the museum in 1964.
After the liberation of Mykolayiv from Nazi invaders in March 1944, the museum began to resume its work and replenish the museum collection. The leading museums of the state played an important role in this process: the Kyiv national museum of Russian art, the Kyiv Museum of Western and Oriental Art, the Odessa Art Gallery, the Odessa Museum of Western and Oriental Art, the State Tretyakov Gallery, and the State Russian Museum. They all shared their museum collections, transferring works of fine art, including graphics. During this period, the collection of graphics of the XIX century was enriched by exhibits from the Directorate of Art Exhibitions and Panoramas of the Soviet Union, the State Procurement Commission of the USSR Ministry of Culture, the All-Union Art and Production Complex, and the Directorate of Art Exhibitions of the USSR.
Private owners, Mykolaiv citizens, also donated some works. The Mykolaiv Regional Museum of Local History repeatedly gifted works of art, including graphics.
In the 1940s, six academic drawings by Vladimir Murzanov (1872-1922), the first director of the museum, were returned to the museum collection. Vladimir Murzanov was a student of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts and Ilya Repin’ mentee. He came to Nikolaev after graduation and began his teaching career there. However, V.O. Murzanov also joined the public work, taking part in the creation of The V. V. Vereshchagin Mykolaiv Art Museum. After M.A. Gedroyts left the city, the artist took over the duties of the first director and curator of the museum. He worked in this position until his death in 1922.
In the first postwar years, many works were transferred from the Odessa Art Gallery – among them a rare, pastel “Portrait of a Woman” by Petr Gansky, who was a member of the Association of South Russian Artists (the work was transferred in 1949).
Paired watercolor portraits of Rudolf Fedorovets, which Odessa also shared with Mykolayiv in the first postwar decade, still keep their mysterious history.
The years 1970-1980 were successful in terms of cooperation with collectors from different cities of the country. Thanks to this cooperation the museum enriched its collection a lot, among others with highly artistic works of graphics. The most common names of collectors in the archive and stock documentation are H.P. Bieliakov, V.V. Ashyk, O.Y. Rybakova, Y.M. Ezrakh, I.I. Podzorov. Thanks to this communication, the collection receives masterpieces of original graphics A. N. Benois, K.A. Korovin, V. A. Serov, M. V. Dobuzhinsky, P.F. Sokolov, S.F. Kolesnikov.
A valuable acquisition was the purchase from L.V. Morozova (Moscow) thirteen original pencil drawings by Malyavin Filipp in the early 1980s.
In 1988 the museum was lucky to meet and visit in the city of Pervomaisk, Mykolaiv region, Anton Danilovich, the son of the artist Danilo Krainev. The result of this visit was the purchase of two paintings by the master: “Woman on a red pillow” and “Swordsman. (Portrait of a son)”. At the same time, three sketchbooks were purchased. The time of their creation dates back to 1910-1930. The total number of sketches in all three albums is 69. A significant part of them is included in this edition.
The first of the albums “Album №1” (18 pcs.) is dominated by images of animals and birds. Probably the place of their creation was the Mykolaiv Zoo, which the artist visited for work. Some of the sketches are signed and have an exact date: date, month, and year. In the next “Album №2” (9 pcs.) includes landscapes, genre compositions, and portraits. In “Album №3” (20 pcs.) there are mostly nudes: models both male and female, several portraits of contemporaries. At the end of the album there are sketches of genre compositions made at the production site. To create them, the artist uses watercolors.
A resident of Mykolaiv, local historian, wife of V.V. Riumin Jr., who was an outstanding teacher, writer, and follower of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’ ideas, Tatiana Riumina donated to the museum in 1987 sixteen small pencil drawings, mostly on biblical themes. These paintings were made by Maria Enhel, the wife of the staff captain. Maria Enhel was a student at St. Petersburg Academy of Arts and in 1858 she received the title of “free artist”. Earlier, in 1976, Tatiana Riumina purchased three watercolor portraits by Alexey Pokrovsky, a little-known artist of the mid-nineteenth century: “Portrait of a Boy”, “Portrait of a Girl”, “Portrait of a Woman”.
An outstanding event in the museum’s collecting activities should be considered the acquisition of works by Ilya Repin’s student – Stepan Chuprinenko (1879-1933), a native of Mykolaiv region. The museum bought “Female Portrait” from the collector M.P. Kondratiev in 1986. Subsequently, “Female Portrait” and the genre composition “Gopak” by this master were bought from A.B. Kobusov.
Continuing the animalistic direction in graphics, Pavel Sokolov-Skalya (1899-1961) created sanguine drawings. The future artist received his art education at The I.I. Mashkov school-studio in Moscow, where he worked for six years and in the Second State Free Art Studio in Moscow (1920-1922). He was the founder of the “Bytie” art association and its chairman for three years. In 1926 he joined the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR) and exhibited his works at exhibitions together with other members of the Association.
In 1981 in Moscow, where the artist lived with his widow A.S. Sokolova-Skalya the Museum buys 23 of his works. Among the works stands out “Self-portrait”, made in ink. Watercolors created in Central Asia impress with their mastery: “In Samarkand”, “Samarkand Copper”.
In 1920-1930 P.P Sokolov-Skalya worked as an illustrator, graphic, and poster artist a lot. The museum collection preserved interesting and rare drawings for magazines of that period worked of contemporary writers, which were almost forgotten later. Some of the illustrations were published in the magazine MODR in the 1930s.
The masterpieces of graphic art of the 1930s include the works of Mikhail Sokolov (1885-1947). The graphics section was supplemented by sixteen works in 1980. Drawings were received from Olena Tannenberg.
She became the owner of M.K. Sokolov’ legacy in 1956, after the death of N.V. Rozanova (wife of M.K. Sokolov). Olena Tannenberg met N.V. Rozanova not earlier than 1929. In 1931-1933 they worked together in The Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre since 1933 – at the studio “Soyuzmultfilm”. Since 1941, N.V. Rozanova lived with the family of O.D. Tannenberg, as she could not return to the besieged Leningrad. Olena Dmytrivna kept the works and archives of M.K. Sokolov. Also, thanks to her museums had the opportunity to purchase works by the artist and to get acquainted with his fate.
Mikhail Sokolov made all 16 drawings in the museum’s collection before his arrest in 1937. Some watercolors have a signature and date. Other drawings have no date, but in the manner of execution, as well as the drawn subject, they belong to the first half of the 30s of the XX century.
The works can be divided as follows: four drawings belong to the cycle “Imaginary portraits” (or “Ladies”), their exact dating is missing; five drawings depicting Harlequin, a horseman, wandering musicians are unified into a series of “Traveling Comedians”; painting “Paganini” has not only a signature, the time of creation, but also a title written by the artist himself. Most likely, it is more correct to attribute it to the cycle “Musicians”; three sheets are based on literary works. The museum has two works based on Charles Dickens (possibly “Cold House”); the work “Street Scene” refers to illustrations inspired by the works of Hoffman; the collection of Sokolov’s drawings is completed by two male images – “Man with the pipe” and “Over the glass of beer” with the date of creation – March 27, 1933.
This is a small selection of graphic works by M.K. Sokolov still covers the main cycles of the master, acquaints with the characters of favorite literary works, and provides insight into bright, original images.
The earliest work “Horseman”, which dates back to 1931, belongs to the cycle “Traveling Comedians”. It is known that the artist loved to depict riders and for him, a man mounted on a frisky horse embodies a symbol of freedom and beauty. Four more works are filled with a different mood: “Harlequins” (1932), “Street Concert” (1933), “Harlequin with a Parrot” (1934), “Harlequin with a Harmonica”.
In the first section of the catalogue, the most significant acquisitions are watercolors by Ivan Aivazovsky and sketches to theatrical productions by Konstantin Korovin.
Surprisingly elegant is the sea landscape by I. Aivazovsky’s “In the Harbor”, pained by a prominent mariner in 1842 during a trip to Europe. This work was created in Italy, namely in the harbor of the port city of Palermo in Sicily. This is easily proved by the views of the harbor of Palermo, over which rises the huge mountain of Monte Pellegrino.
The marine genre also includes the watercolor “Port of Odessa” by Alexey Hanzen (1876-1940) – the grandson of Ivan Aivazovsky, a member of the Association of South Russian Artists. The work is in the second part of the publication.
Among other highly artistic graphic works, there are: “Portrait of Verochka Guchkova” by Valentin Serov, two maiden portraits of Zinaida Serebryakova “Olya Rybakova as a child” and “Dad in a Harlequin costume”. The gem of the collection is a watercolor “Violets” by Fyodor Tolstoy (1783-1873).
Fyodor Tolstoy was born in St. Petersburg on February 10 (21), 1783, his family belonged to an ancient count’s family. His watercolors are authentic and unique with a brilliant presentation of flowers, fruits, and leaves, which can be called purely botanical illustrations.
Drawings from the private collection of Viktor Ashyk became the priceless incomings to the graphic section of the museum’s collection The work of Peter Sokolov (1791-1847), the most prominent artist of the Russian intimate portrait, “Portrait of E.G. Chertkova ” was created during the golden age of the artist’s work. The museum received the portrait in 1982 together with other works from the collection of V.V. Ashyk. At that time, the artist worked with pure watercolor, without impurities of whitewash or gouache.
These above-mentioned works are included in the first part of the catalogue. They arrived at the museum in the 1980s.
The second section of the catalog is also rich and meaningful. Among the names representing the graphic art of the twentieth century, there are many names that became the face of the era.
Artists who created the fine arts in the 1920s and 1930s had a difficult creative destiny: they were subjected to oppression, persecution, and even physical destruction. Among the well-known names of that time, there are Sergey Luchishkin (1902-1989), Robert Falk (1886-1957), Alexey Pakhomov (1900-1973), Vladimir Lebedev (1891-1967), Alexander Shevchenko (1882-1948), Boris Rybchenkov (1899). -1994), Nikolay Tyrsa (1887-1942), and others. Their works were bought from the authors or from their families.
Boris Rybchenkov was a painter, graphic artist, illustrator, and teacher. He studied at the Kyiv Art School (1915-1918). From 1920 he was a student of N.I. Altman and O.T. Matvieiev, and participated in exhibitions since 1918. In 1920-1930, like many other artists, Rybchenkov traveled to remote and still unknown parts of the country. From there he brought his impressions and emotions, which he later reproduced in his sketches and watercolors.
The work of Anatolii Petrytskyi (1896-1962) “Portrait of the composer Mykhailo Verykivsky”, which was considered lost forever, is an outstanding example of a Ukrainian painting. This work is a part of a huge collection of portraits of Ukrainian intellectuals. These drawings were supposed to be displayed in the Literary Museum in Kharkiv that was planned to be built in the 1930s. Unfortunately, the portraits were destroyed and the people depicted on them were repressed. Only around ten out of nearly 150 works have survived to the date. Mykolaiv received them in 1977 from the wife of the artist Larysa Himmel-Reich.
The highest achievement of Ukrainian fine arts in the last century is the heritage of Olexander Bohomazov (1880-1930). The museum has six sketches in graphite pencil for the cycle “Work of sawmills” purchased from the daughter of painter Yaroslava Ivanikova. All of them were exhibited at a large monographic exhibition “O.K. Bohomazov: Creative Laboratory” in the summer of 2019 at the National Art Museum in Kyiv.
Mykhailo Zhuk (1883-1964) was a professor at the Ukrainian Academy of Arts, vice-rector of The Odessa Art school, one of the phenomenal masters of Ukraine. He was fond of photography, wrote poetry and prose. Contemporary art critics note that Mykhailo Zhuk was one of the brightest exponents of modernist tendencies in Ukrainian painting.
The second section of the catalogue also includes works by the Krychevsky family. The collection includes watercolors and drawings by Vasyl Vasylyovych Krychevsky (12 works), Mykola Vasylyovych Krychevsky (18 works), and Kateryna Krychevska-Rosandych (32 works). A watercolor by Mykola Krychevsky “House of V.K. Vynnychenko” was the first work that the museum received in the spring of 2001. After that, the works of brothers Vasyl and Mykola Krychevsky, gradually came to Mykolaiv. Their father Vasyl Hryhorovych Krychevsky was a famous Ukrainian master, academician, founder of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts in 1917.
Vasyl Krychevsky (1901-1978), an outstanding artist, collaborated in cinema with Olexander Dovzhenko. The “Female portrait” from the museum collection was made by the author in pencil in 1937.
Mykola Krychevsky (1898-1961) is known as a pan-European watercolorist. He was friend and a drawing teacher of Volodymyr Vynnychenko. The catalog includes several works of the master. All of them were created not later than 1947, mainly in the landscape genre.
Among the works purchased by the museum, a large number of works are related to the Ukrainian and world literature. The participation of the artist in the design of the book is traditional in Ukraine. The master creates the image of a book, prepares not only illustrations but also a cover, footer. Let us recall the unsurpassed book illustrators Yevhen Kibryk (1906-1978), Oleksiy Pakhomov (1900-1973), Volodymyr Lebedev (1891-1967), Kazimir Ahnit-Sledzevskyi (1898-1973), Oleksandr Dovhal (1904-1961), and Konstantin Rudakov (1891). -1949).
This publication would also be impossible without the research work of all the scholars who worked in the museum and collected the best examples of national and world fine arts, graphics in particular. During the compilation of the catalogue, we managed to find new biographical facts about the authors, information about the exact time of the creation of several pieces of art. We also discovered some literary works, where you can find illustrations and sketches.
The author of the catalogue expresses sincere gratitude to the team of the Municipal institution Mykolaiv development agency for productive collaboration which contributed to the appearance of the first catalog of original graphics in the history of the museum. We hope that this edition is the first in a series of catalogues devoted to the study and promotion of masterpieces of the museum treasury.
Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs
The V. V. Vereshchagin Mykolaiv Art Museum